|One of the things I love most about this time of year is that my favorite fruit, strawberries, are in season. I eat them at least twice a day, sometimes more, in the spring!
As a child, my mother would sometimes take my sister and me to Trax Farms to pick our own strawberries. I remember one particular year in which she got us out of school early to pick berries in celebration of my sister’s birthday. Getting out of school early was the best reason to go pick berries, followed closely by the chance to enjoy beautiful spring weather and to do something with my hands.
And perhaps that’s all it was for my mother too: a perfect excuse to leave work early and spend time with her 2 children, outdoors, picking basket after basket of delicious strawberries. Half of them would usually be eaten before my father would get home from work, so the harvest didn’t last long enough to be worth it for that reason alone.
I don’t know if it was intentional, but this annual ritual of picking strawberries always reminded me of where my food really came from. It didn’t come from the fridge or pantry, and it didn’t come from the grocery store. Those berries grew on plants rising up from the earth, carefully tended to by workers for months before I’d ever show up to pick them with my little hands. Were it not for those workers, I would never have had delicious strawberries to eat!
As the Israelites of the Old Testament prepared to enter the Promised Land, God told them what was waiting for them there:
For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with flowing streams, with springs and underground waters welling up in valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land where you may eat bread without scarcity, where you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron and from whose hills you may mine copper. You shall eat your fill and bless the Lord your God for the good land that he has given you. (Deuteronomy 8:7-10)
It was a land with abundant food, water, and natural resources. The Israelites would lack nothing. But as they entered, he also gave them this worthy reminder: Take care that you do not forget the Lord your God (Deuteronomy 8:11). Don’t forget where this abundance comes from. Don’t forget who created the flowing waters, and abundant wheat and fruit, and the natural resources below your feet. Remember where your berries come from, God says.
It’s easy to take things for granted, like the food we eat. We seldom stop to think about where it comes from. I do this with most foods, but not with strawberries. When I eat strawberries in May, I never forget where they come from. I always remember that God provides abundantly fresh berries. God created the strawberry plant and the soil, rain, and sun that helps it grow. God created the farmers who plant and care for them until berries form for me to pick. What a blessing of the Lord to have fresh berries in spring!